THE cost of dying in Dumbarton and the Vale has gone up by 30 per cent since 2010, according to new statistics.

Citizens Advice Scotland have found 10 per cent of families struggle to pay the bills each year when loved ones pass away and funeral directors have condemned council charges as “immoral”.

Fees for interment in West Dunbartonshire Council have risen from £475 in 2010/11 to £616 in 2017/18 - and that’s before counting any other costs.

The average cost for a funeral in Scotland is reportedly £3,600.

Other areas, such as East Renfrewshire, are up by 136 per cent and Edinburgh is the most expensive at £1,095, under figures obtained by BBC Scotland.

Council leader Councillor Jonathan McColl said all parties were working to eliminate the costs for laying children to rest.

He said: “Funeral costs remain comparable with other councils, and as an area with high levels of deprivation, it’s important that we continue to provide value for money to our residents in their time of need.

“I welcome the unanimous decision of Cosla leaders two weeks ago, to work with the Scottish Government to eradicate charges for children’s funerals.

“At present West Dunbartonshire does not charge local residents for children up to the age of 16, but we do levy a charge for those living out with the area.

“The proposed changes will extend the free service to all who need it up to the age of 18. It’s the right thing to do and I’m glad that the Scottish Government will be providing councils across Scotland with the resources to deliver this new national policy.”

Jackie Baillie MSP said the death of a loved one was a difficult time for families and it was distressing to not have enough money to cover the costs of a funeral.

She said: “This is a significant financial burden for the elderly and people on low incomes. For families on benefits, the majority of their funeral expenses payment would be swallowed up by the basic burial and wouldn’t even begin to cover all the other costs involved.

“It is a very sad time when people are being forced to leave loved ones in a mortuary as they cannot meet the costs of a burial.

“We have a responsibility to ensure people’s dignity from the cradle to the grave so the Scottish Government should increase the grants available and work with local authorities to mitigate burial costs for those on the lowest incomes.”

Jim Brodie, of the Scottish Association of Independent Funeral Directors, told the BBC there was a post-code lottery of charges.

He said: “There are many pressures on the councils, but you have an essential service that is being used to make money, to offset other parts of the council.

“I can’t say it’s wrong - I just think it’s immoral.”